The human rights group Liberty today praised the Scottish Executive’s efforts to ensure that secret CIA flights carrying suspects to face possible torture have not received Scottish logistical support.
As the Prime Minister announced new anti-terror measures today, Liberty encouraged the Government to give police additional powers to bring terror suspects to justice such as using post-charge questioning instead of repeating the mistake of internment.
Shadow Home Secretary David Davis told journalists today that anticipated future terror emergencies do not warrant new laws to extend pre-charge detention. Instead, emergency powers in the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 (CCA) already allow for a targeted and temporary extension of pre-charge detention periods for suspects in a terror emergency, subject to Parliamentary and judicial oversight.
While Harmondsworth detention centre burned, vulnerable detainees inside were imprisoned in overcrowded, flooded cells and denied food and water, Liberty revealed today in an unprecedented legal challenge. The rights group told the High Court that the Home Office’s failure to bring a public inquiry into the ill-treatment of detainees during a disturbance in the centre last year is illegal.
Liberty's response to the Government’s involvement in the Saadi v Italy case in the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights which will challenge the right not to be sent to a place of torture.
A six-day hearing into the legality of the controversial control order scheme will begin in the House of Lords tomorrow. The Law Lords will consider if control orders, by which a suspect’s freedom is severely curtailed although he has not been charged or tried in open court, violates the right to liberty and a fair trial.
In his first speech before the House of Commons, Prime Minister Gordon Brown today announced his intention to review the ban on spontaneous protest around Parliament Square and to introduce a public debate on a British Bill of Rights and Duties.
“Liberty condemns the murderous plots that have been exposed over the last few days in London and Glasgow and pays tribute to the emergency services for the calm courage that may well have saved dozens of innocent lives. We must also pay enormous tribute to the new Prime Minister, Home Secretary and First Minister. Recent years have demonstrated just how tempting it can be for democratic leaders to play a dangerous and counter-productive politics with national security. By contrast, so far at least, Mr Brown has resisted partisan posturing or a knee-jerk rush to the statute book. The new Government is demonstrating the unifying response that it rightly seeks from all of us.”
By a narrow majority (3:2), the House of Lords Appellate Committee has ruled against Human Rights Act protection of elderly people housed (at public expense) in privately run residential care homes. In the case of YL v Birmingham City Council and Others, the majority found against the appellant. The reasoning seems to have been largely that private care providers are motivated by profit and governed by contract rather than public service values.
A peace activist arrested during an anti-war protest near Downing Street has appealed to the European Court of Human Rights to determine if the Government’s ban on spontaneous protest violates freedom of expression and assembly. Milan Rai, represented by the human rights group Liberty, was convicted under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (SOCPA) for organising an unauthorised demonstration within one kilometre of Parliament.